Crown, back, scapulars, and secondaries, black, glossed with green; neck, wing-coverts, and under parts, reddish yellow.
A. minuta, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. 11. p. 584. Little Bittern, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. 11. App. p. 633. pl. 8. Mont. Orn. Diet, and Supp. Selb. Must. vol. 11. p. 36. pl. 6*. Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. 11. pp. 25, & 27.
Entire length fourteen inches three lines: length of the bill two inches; of the tarsus one inch nine lines; of the middle toe, claw included, two inches; from the carpus to the end of the wing five inches six lines.
(Adult). Crown of the head, occiput, back, scapulars, secondary quills, and tail, black, with green reflections; cheeks, neck, wing-coverts, and all the under parts, reddish yellow; flanks, and sides of the breast, with a few brownish streaks; primary quills dusky: bill yellow; the tip brown: orbits and irides yellow: feet greenish yellow. (Young of the year). Crown of the head brown; fore part of the neck whitish with longitudinal dark streaks; cheeks, nape, breast, back, and wing-coverts, chestnut-brown more or less deep, some of the feathers with pale rufous edges: greater quills and tail-feathers deep brown. (Egg). White: long. diam. one inch six lines; trans, diam. eleven lines.
Occasionally met with, but not common in this country. Montagu records that three specimens were shot in Devonshire during the Spring and Summer of 1808. Others have been killed at different times in the Orkneys, in Somersetshire, Shropshire, Northumberland, Hampshire, Suffolk, and, more recently, on Uxbridge Moor, and on the banks of the Thames near Windsor. Frequents marshes, and rushy places on the borders of lakes and rivers. Breeds in such situations, constructing a large nest of leaves and rushes. Lays five or six eggs. Food small reptiles, fish, worms, etc.
(2. Botaurus, Steph).